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Bidjar Ngoulin to Lake Brockman on the Munda Biddi Trail

Bidjar Ngoulin to Lake Brockman

Munda Biddi Trail


Bidjar Ngoulin Hut


3-4 Hours


Lake Brockman

Date Ridden

24th August 2021





Traditional Custodians

Pinjarup People

The Ride - Here we go. This section was one I was not looking forward to riding from the very start and after hearing a first hand account of the terrible scenery through here, I was at least mentally prepared for the worst today. There are two factors going into making this section the worst one on the entire Munda Biddi (my personal opinion of course) with the bushfires that hit this area in 2015 combined with the cancerous destruction of the northern Jarrah forests by Alcoa, South32 and others. I'll try not to go into full rant mode on this one as I really tried to go into the section with a positive and unbiased mindset.

After a rest at the Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite for lunch, we refilled water bottles and packed our things away to begin the second half of the day. The goal was Lake Brockman where we had booked a cabin to stay in for the night and my aim was to fly through this section and reach the accommodation before the shop closed so we could pick up some snacks. As I had the paper maps and Aron had bought the Munda Biddi app on his phone, it was no surprise that the start of this section would involve some climbing with a big puppa (100m+ climb) on the cards after leaving camp. Leaving just after midday, the sun had been quite warm during the mid-morning and would only get hotter from here. Being on a pretty exposed vehicle track as we started climbing didn't help and the fires had gone a long way to getting rid of any canopy that may have been there in the first place. This type of recovering forest is not too pleasant to walk/ride through with the large trees all sprouting green jumpers thanks to the epicormic regrowth and the ground level full of tunnels of invasive plants like Soap Bush that grow rapidly after fire.

Combined with the dread of what was to come, I didn't overly enjoy this section so put my head down and played some podcasts to lighten the mood. Joined by Sean Fennessy, Amanda Dobbins and Chris Ryan from The Big Picture as they went through another movie draft made the climbing easier and gave me some ideas for my own podcast. There were brief moments of enjoyment along the trail with some flowering Wattle, Golden Buttercups and some WTF items that had been dumped including a bar stool and a pram. I feel these just add to the character of this section and I hope they stay there, becoming public art pieces commenting on the relationship society as a whole has with this section of the track. Reaching the steepest part of the climb, the forest opens up and you are left very exposed to the sun, adding to the displeasure of the experience. For over a kilometre here you are on gradients ranging from 6 to 12% and eventually both Aron and I were off the bikes, pushing them up the hill. At the top of the hill you are rewarded with the first of many Alcoa artefacts, the tunnel under the hauling road that will be familiar to any Bibbulmun Track hiker that has dropped a car off at the Driver Road bridge.

This is also your first up close experience with the environmental destruction leftover from bauxite mining as through the tunnel and across the road is the vacant land left after all the trees have been cleared and the top level of soil removed. Unfortunately for the northern Jarrah forests, the mining of bauxite involves pushing over all the trees and stripping the shallow top layer where it is found. Given the small depth to the mining operation, large tracts of land need to be cleared and the effects of this can be seen over time by either looking at a map in Satellite view or by visiting this WalkGPS page that has a time-lapse of the effect. The major players in bauxite mining around here (Alcoa and South32) negotiated the expansive leases back in the 1960s and as a result, the future of these forests were decided back when little care was given to environmental concerns. They still need EPA approvals to expand operations and public consultation will take place around Christmas of 2021 so to keep aware of this issue and to make your voice heard follow either the WA Forest Alliance or Save our Jarrah as they will announce when all the important milestones are happening. As far as the riding goes, you run parallel to Nanga Road for a while on single track that is actually a nice trail to follow if the cleared views to the right weren't super terrible.


Arriving at a turn that takes you off Nanga Road, Aron decided he would just follow Nanga Road and meet up with the track a bit further on. I wanted to experience this section for all it was worth, good or bad, so we agreed he would wait at the junction where our two paths would meet next. Following the King Jarrah Form again, it was pleasant riding through the relatively untouched sections of forest and a stark reminder of what the surrounding area could look like if it wasn't ripped up or slated to be ripped up in the future. I enjoyed the riding while it lasted until I reached a set of restricted access gates and things went slightly pear shaped. From a distance it looked like the sides were blocked off and upon reaching them, it seemed to me that all access was not allowed as the sign is poorly worded. To me it read that access to riders was restricted as it states "Access Restricted to Munda Biddi / Waterous Bike Track Users". In the heat of the day and not enjoying this section so much, I decided to follow Driver Road and avoid riding through this area as I knew it would get me back to Nanga Road and where Aron was headed. Unfortunately the paper maps are really outdated through here as the track keeps getting diverted due to mining but with a small amount of reception I loaded up Google Maps to confirm, along with messaging Donovan about the gates.